PAMPANGA

Pangan: Friend-celebrators

At Close Range

TWO fine gentlemen will celebrate their birthdays on October 23 and 24, respectively: veteran photojournalist Lino Sanchez, Jr., and Engineer Rey Liwanag, general manager of the Angeles City Water District (ACWD).

Lino, Jr., was a long-time correspondent for Manila Times and Manila Bulletin and other national broadsheets in the 70s and early 80s and has encouraged several government agencies to shape up through his investigative reporting.

Liwanag, meanwhile, has steered the ACWD to financial and operational excellence. Lately, however, he has faced challenges over the overtures of very influential persons who used the backdoor approach to penetrate his firm and eventually take over the questions and management of the

facility.

With his calm and composed demeanor, he has stood firm to sustain his plans and objectives for ACWD which he has served for a considerable length of time.

Not one easily given to give interviews, he says he will give his purposeful side in due time. Always a gentleman, he offers measured/calculated responses to queries thrown his way.

Other October birthday celebrants are former councilor Eddie Sotto-October 13 and my sister, Dr. Carmelita P. Sotto, former Mabalacat City College president, on October 21.

***

On lifting the bank secrecy law. For so long, probers have faced a blank wall investigating suspected smugglers, fraudsters and other members of syndicates. The reason? The stiff bank secrecy law. Probers cannot simply open the bank accounts of suspects as the law prevents the prying into the bank accounts without court orders.

Now, the Department of Finance is urging Congress to pass a legislation to ease the bank secrecy law to allow authorities to legally look into the bank accounts of individuals suspected of fraud and other offenses.

For those who are still unbanked, no need to worry as there would be no bank accounts to look at.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez cites the need to lift bank secrecy for tax purposes to strengthen or fortify the enforcement of the law against crimes involving tax evasion and money laundering.

Additionally, Secretary Dominguez argued that the proposed lifting of the bank secrecy law will enable the Bureau of Internal Revenue to properly investigate taxpayers suspected of tax evasion and improve its tax collection in the process.

The lifting of bank secrecy is in compliance with international standards on transparency.

***

It's nice to learn about movements AND promotions of friends at SM. At SM Clark, erstwhile mall manager Andrea Madlangbayan has been promoted as regional operations manager in-charge of SM Clark, SM Pampanga, SM Telabastagan and SM San Fernando Downtown Engineer Junias Eusebio now a vice president of the large SM conglomerate. Replacing her is assistant mall manager Jerwin. Congratulations, guys!


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